Category Archives: celebrity

Katie deserves Oscar nom for five-year run as Mrs Tom Cruise

English: Cropped image of Tom Cruise and Katie...

I feel a little bad for Tom Cruise getting served with divorce papers only a few days before turning 50.  Especially, since, according to tabloid headlines, he was completely blindsided by it.  Only days earlier he and Katie were holding hands walking around the streets of Iceland.

Apparently the reality of being married to Tom did not live up to Katie’s teen-age fantasy of marrying one of the most famous movie stars of our generation.    But the breakup may have less to do with Tom as husband and father than of his adherence to the practice of Scientology.   We don’t know that, but let’s look at the facts, such as they are.  Which is to say we have no idea what we are talking about.  The facts as we know them are pure speculation based on what we read in the tabloids.

We do know for a fact that Katie managed to stay in for 5 years.  I have to wonder how long she had been thinking about calling it quits?  Her father had time to hatch and carry out a plan that involved firing all the help who might have made her exit “problematic” (the Scientology police?) and replace them with people loyal to Katie.  That had to take a few months to put together!  And whose idea was it?   Did it start with her, or did her parents pull a sort of intervention to get her to admit she wanted out?

One tabloid headline suggested Katie was not the happy-go-lucky young woman her parents knew she had been 5 years earlier and they apparently blamed marriage to Tom for her emotional decline.  That her exit from the marriage required the staff to be replaced seems like a move out of the textbook on how to de-program people caught up in religious cults.   Not that I am suggesting Scientology is a cult.  I am not suggesting this, but certain entire countries in Europe have, more or less officially, suggested it.  Such as France.  Not that we are naming names.

The Cruises rented a home in Pittsburgh this past year while Tom was filming Ghost Protocol, and were photographed in various locations enjoying some good times as a family.  Tom took Suri ice skating.  The whole family went shopping for fresh produce at a local farm market.  The three of them are some of the most genetically lucky people I know in the good looks department.  The perfect family.   So full of hope.

But the question lingering in my mind is, when did Katie know she had to get out?  Five years isn’t that long.  She needed at least a year to pull off the legal stuff with her dad, get a place to live, change her cell number, and schedule the moving van.  So that’s year four.  She would have to admit to herself it was over way before that — but even once she got that gut feeling she probably didn’t say the words out loud until around year 3.

My guess is she knew it was over before she got pregnant with Suri (mid-way through year one) and once she had her daughter it just got complicated.

A Google search of the number of years women stay in a marriage after they have decided to divorce was no help at all — even Google Scholar didn’t have an answer to that question.  If anyone knows the SEO terms for this concept, I’d be obliged if you’d send me the keywords or the links to the articles!

What I did learn from my search was that 90 percent of women who think about divorce never go through with getting one.  And if you have been married at least 10 years, you are nearly 70 percent more likely to stay married to that person.   If you want the link to those stats, you can Google it.

Huffington Post has an entire department devoted to the topic of divorce.  Check out the comments there to this question posed to readers.  Complete this sentence: “The moment I knew (my marriage was over) … ”  If you needed any more evidence of man’s inhumanity to man — and I am speaking, of course, in the inclusive voice here — you will find it in those responses!   As one might expect, infidelity was a frequent cause but in other stories there were actually weapons involved!  The saddest cases were those involving people who were seriously ill and their spouses reacted with callous indifference.

My point is, even the fairy-tale marriage isn’t guaranteed to succeed.  Remember these famous marriages that everyone said would last forever?  John and Elizabeth Edwards.  Al and Tipper Gore.   Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley…

Lest you think I have forgotten that most tragic and fractured fairy-tale couple of our time  — Prince Charles and Lady Diana — I say, well duh.  But should we not look beyond our love and devotion to Diana and consider that the fairy-tale-come-true was really Camilla’s eventual marriage to Charles?  No. We should not.  Even if it probably is.

At long last, we come to the moral of the story, which is that neither wealth, good looks, great teeth, being able to fit into a size 3 dress, diamond tiaras, fame, or a particular faith — whether orthodox or un — guarantees a successful run at marriage.

My parents recently celebrated seventy years of marriage.  Seven-O.  They are 90 and 93 years old.  I never heard them say an angry word to one another.  My dad always gave my mom a peck on the lips and a hug when he came home from work.  Then he sat down in his arm-chair until supper with the newspaper, after which he returned to his chair and read the paper and watched TV until bedtime.  He changed the oil in his cars, kept them polished, mowed the lawn, and paid the bills.  Mom fixed the meals and kept the house, only working outside the home a few years when things were tight.   They would be lost without each other.   When asked how they lasted this long they just shrug.  Something about mutual respect and never considering the alternative.

So if you have been in a successful relationship for longer than 10 years, hang in there.  It’s nothing to sneeze at.  Don’t screw it up.  You are our role models.

And we need more role models.  Like Bill and Hillary Clinton.  Seriously.  If a relationship so publicly violated as that between Hillary and Bill Clinton can survive, there is hope for us all.


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Is Tim Tebow the Messiah?

Tim Tebow giving God the glory

Here’s the thing.  If God wanted to get the attention of as many Americans as possible right now, how would he do it?

Would he start small by appearing to a few people and asking them to spread the word that he’s back?  That worked pretty well last time around, except it took a few centuries to really take hold and quite a few people got martyred as a result.

With the internet, the word could spread immediately with posts on Facebook.  What are you doing?  “OMG I saw Jesus today and he said to tell you all he’s back and wants everyone to meet next Saturday night at Mile High Stadium to prepare for the rapture.  Please post this on your wall and ask everyone you know to do the same.” 

But the shelf life of a Facebook post is kind of short.   Twitter might be able to drum up a pretty good crowd for Jesus in Denver with a flash mob shout-out from Ellen Degeneres.  IF she offered a couple grand in cash to the person who could point out Jesus in the crowd.

How is Jesus going to get our attention?  How will we KNOW its really him? I mean, there are so many distractions right now –is it really a good time for Jesus to return?

We’re trying to pick another president for crying out loud!  The Republican Primary is in full swing and has become a platform for discussions of morality and pondering the question of whether certain religions are “true” Christian religions, and, whether, if you commit adultery but are very, very sorry about it, that’s good enough to qualify you as the favorite candidate of true believers.

This is all probably Satan’s doing, of course.  Satan operates not unlike Rupert Murdoch in putting out disinformation that is tantalizing enough to keep us distracted from the truth.  We can’t handle the truth.  It’s just not that interesting.  The primaries are only interesting because they are like a reality show.  On this show, we watch the players scheme to eliminate the other candidates before we get the chance to vote them off the ballot.   Maybe if we got to text our votes in November, more people would play along at home?

What of those who are not paying attention to politics?  They are likely distracted from the news that “Jesus is back in the building” because they have no jobs and fear they will soon be homeless.  Or they are living in fear that their kids will put them out to die on a rapidly melting iceberg (curse you, global warming!) because they can’t afford a proper nursing home.  Actually, that last one might not be so bad — from what I’ve seen, the iceberg might be preferable to the nursing home.

But I digress.

Ok, we have a lot going on in our lives, and we’re pretty focused on day-to-day survival.  But we still have the one simple distraction from our misery that is open to all economic groups, races, cultures, ages, and genders.  And that is sports.  Sports fandom to be exact.  It gives us hope when there often is none.  Where I live, it’s one particular sport: Football.

Enter Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos v. the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“Who wouldda thunk it?” said one of the commentators after the six-time Superbowl Champion Steelers lost in overtime because of a Tim Tebow pass that was taken all the way to the end zone.   Improbable.  But it happened.  Incredible.  Tim Tebow is either the luckiest stiff in the NFL or he truly has God on his side.

Our guys pray too.  They go to church.  They talk about their personal relationships with Jesus Christ too.  But Tebow!  He’s OUT there.  Like it or not, he has created world-wide buzz about his commitment to Jesus Christ not just because he talks about it, and not just because he takes a knee on the gridiron, but because the man just keeps coming through when he has to.

The Broncos could have won that game in overtime by moving the ball steadily down the field yard by yard and then kicking for the 3 points.  But no.  The so-called “inconsistent” passer puts it right in the hands of the receiver and the Steelers’ diminished defensive line is powerless to stop him.  Season over.  Just like that.

The only reason I can find for Tim Tebow’s success is that he actually IS Jesus Christ incarnate.   He’s just enough human to fumble a few now and then and he’s just enough God to deliver when it really counts.  His witness on the field and off is unapologetically directed at drawing attention to God.

If you want to get the American public’s attention, you have to go where they are.  And where they are on Sunday is at the football game — in the stands or in front of the TV.   Tim Tebow is news, and because of last week’s game even MORE people know about him and are talking about his faith and wondering — is God really answering his prayers?  Will he answer mine too?

So there you have it.  There is no other explanation.  Tim Tebow is the Messiah.

See you all in Denver for the rapture!  Dress warm — you won’t need to pack for this trip.  It’s one way.


Filed under celebrity, Humor, Pittsburgh, Politics, Religion, satire, Sports

Paul McCartney opening Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center

I saw the Beatles in 1964 at the ripe young age of 9 at the Portland Memorial Colliseum.  I say I saw the Beatles because I could not hear the Beatles for all of the screaming.  I still have no idea what that was all about!  I never felt compelled to scream once. 

We didn’t have great tickets and my uncle escorted me.  It was even his idea!  He and my aunt didn’t have any kids and they took us to things now and then.  I’m not sure why he invited me but I wonder if he was a fan.  It’s too late to ask now.  He’s sitting on a cloud listening to “John and George Unplugged” these days.   But its fun to be able to count myself among those who actually did get to be at a Beatles’ concert.  Its a bucket list thing.

So when it was announced that Paul would be the opener for the new sports and entertainment venue in Pittsburgh I really wanted to go.  It would be great to actually HEAR a Beatle in concert, and likely the last chance I would have had.   But I didn’t even attempt to get tickets – I knew it would sell out in a nano second.  Turns out to be a good thing because I have to work that night.

And yet I am a bit envious of those who are going.  The Beatles are such a major part of our youth and even our kids can sing their songs.   I don’t think you get much call at Karaoke bars for Mack the Knife or My Way.

So if you’ve got tickets, congratulations.  Enjoy.  I think I will come home and put Live in Red Square on DVD.  You can’t beat the price of admission and the seats are great.  Plus the concert took place before Paul started dyeing his hair and cutting back on the weed to make his future-ex-wife happy.  But mostly its worth it to see Vladimir Putin in the front row trying not to look like he’s enjoying himself.  Back in the USSR indeed.

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Tipper and Al Gore separation strikes a blow to soul mate concept

From all accounts from folks who knew them well, Tipper and Al Gore were as close to soul mates as it gets. High school sweet hearts. He was still lifting her off her feet and showing it to the world with his lingering kiss at the democratic convention. The traumas they endured over their son’s near death, the political life, the near miss at the presidency – a lot of stuff to weather. But his passion for saving the planet seems to have overtaken his passion for his wife. We don’t know what happened, but thats the speculation. They grew apart. Sad. Forty years. Not wasted, really. But still. Sad.

Why? I’m thinking, ok, if it’s just that – drifting apart, it’s a common thing. Not like a Tiger Woods thing. Just growing into different people. But how long does it take during a forty year marriage before you start to think, “Is this all there is?” and then start the emotional distancing that leads to a separation? How long do you let that ferment in your psyche until you have to finally say it outloud? Especially if you’re in the public eye and you are considered the model of a perfect couple.

Is there such a thing as a soul mate? Many used to point to Paul and Joanne Newman as the perfect pair because Hollywood marriages are not prone to that kind of longevity. If you’re really a geezer you know that George Burns, who was married to his comedic partner Gracie Allen for thirty years, mourned her passing at the young age of 58 so much that he visited her grave daily. He was down to once a month after a while and kept that routine up most of the rest of his life. He just had to tell her about what was going on in his life. He lived another 32 years without her – to the age of 100 – still visiting her.

I think that some people do find soul mates. Not most of us.   But despite a whole bunch of proof that the overwhelming majority of couples do not find anything close to a soul mate, we still try to believe if we just search long enough, or sign up for E-Harmony, there is some person out there who will make all of our dreams come true forever and ever.  We want the fairy tale and darned if we aren’t going to try and make one come true.

Mark Gungor, YouTube phenom for his hilariously animated and spot on “Men’s Brain’s vs. Women’s Brains” videos, says there is no such thing as a soul mate. Here is the cold shower of logic that Mark Gungor has to offer on the subject. See what you think:

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The Road, starring Viggo Mortensen

The RoadThe long-awaited theatrical adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s grim but gripping novel is due to open on November 24th in the US.  Reviews and previews of the film are mixed if you do a simple google search.   Some go so far as to say it is a terrible film, just a series of scenes clipped together, and lays fault at the feet of the director and screenwriter.   They criticize the actors portraying the two main characters, Viggo Mortensen (The Man) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Boy) as being badly cast and delivering marginal performances. 

On the other side of the spectrum one reads that the movie is “the most important film of the year”  and is glowing in its description of Mortensen and Smit-McPhee’s performances. 

This writer will wait to see the movie, which she plans on doing with two friends who find it impossible to stay away from anything involving Mr. Mortensen.  One of these friends has dubbed Mr. M “the thinking woman’s hunk.” 

Filmed in winter on location in Pennsylvania, Oregon and Louisiana, the filming required an environment that reflects the total devastation of the earth from a cataclysmic event the book does not define.   It does not need to define it, because the event is not the story.  The story is the relationship between The Man (father) and The Boy (son) as they attempt to survive in a world where there is no sunshine, no vegetation, no wildlife, no clean water, no safe place to stay, and no point to go on living except that small chance that somewhere, if you walk far enough, you will find a place where the devastation did not reach and a civil society still exists.  They live in fear of roaming gangs who have survived by capturing and enslaving anyone left living and eating them limb by limb.  They can trust no one.

I had no intention of ever reading this novel.   Our book club at work decided to read it, but I opted out as the description left me thinking “why in the world would I want to immerse myself in something so dismal as that?”  But when the group was done with the book, it was announced that Viggo Mortensen was set to play the lead.  That tidbit made me take a second look. 

Mortensen is one of those actors who has flown under the radar of fame (until the huge success of The Lord of the Rings took him to another level)  in my opinion,  because he becomes the character he is playing instead of playing himself.  So within a few pages of the book I knew this role was made for him.  He was perfect for it because he is the one actor who could become The Man convincingly.  His propensity for living in the skin of his characters is well-documented.  He has been in many roles that demanded a lot of him physically and emotionally, and often required him to work in terrible weather and grubby clothes for long weeks at a time. 

He is also a dedicated father of a grown son, and that works in his favor as the father-son relationship is the central piece of the story.  The Man’s main purpose in life is to protect his son, not just from physical danger but from losing hope and becoming one of the bad guys.  They were “carrying the fire” of hope and humanity as if they were the only ones left on earth who still could.

I nearly gave up on the book twice.  I was literally afraid to turn the page at times in anticipation of what might be about to unfold.  Indeed some of the images were too awful to imagine.  

But the book has a satisfying ending, and the story stayed with me for months because I live in the part of Pennsylvania where the winter landscape looks just like the devastated world of the novel.  Every day I would drive to work and look at the bare trees on the hillsides and the gray sky and think, my God, what would it be like if that’s all there was to the world?  At least I know those trees are going to turn green again in a few weeks.  It made me shudder to think how easily the world could devolve into every man for himself in such a scenario.  And I can understand how some in the book chose to end their lives rather than struggle to survive when there seemed to be no hope.

Very few books or films have had such an effect on my psyche.  Whether the director and screenwriter did justice to the novel’s central theme is yet to be revealed and will be a matter of opinion to each viewer.  But I find it difficult to believe  that Mortensen’s performance will be anything less than inspirational.  I already watched the preview as I read the book – putting him in the role made it possible to keep on reading.  I am confident he will deliver on the big screen as well.

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My teen idol is now my facebook friend!

I was, like, a total, you know, teeny bopper when Paul Revere and the Raiders were a hot band. 

I idolized Mark Lindsay, the lead singer with the radical-for-the-time pony tail under his feather-trimmed tri-corner costume hat.   I secretly did not care for the pony tail, but I put up with it because the man was so darn cute.  

It is a revelation to me when I look back at the pictures of the band that I didn’t remember they wore white tights like ballet dancers.  If I had known anything about “alternative lifestyles” back then, I would have seen the boys in a whole different light.  Something akin to The Village People (see pic of Greatest Hits album art! In case you don’t know, Mark is the second from the left.)   But all personal preferences aside, I was in L-U-V with Mark.album-paul-revere-the-raiders-greatest-hits

I liked to draw portraits and I was reasonably good at it.  So my walls were adorned with hand drawn copies of pictures from teen magazines of all my FAVE RAVES.  Mark had a prominent place on my wall of honor along with Davey Jones, Bobby Sherman, and Paul McCartney.

The Raiders were regulars on Saturday TV in a show called “Where the Action Is.”  Acts like Neil Diamond, who was just becoming famous, were on that show.  It featured musicians lip syncing while cavorting on the beach with California girls (and guys)  in tasteful two piece bathing suits (the girls) doing the twist on the sand and pretending to be surfers at Malibu Beach in California.   MTV Spring Break it was NOT!

American Bandstand was also on Saturdays and both shows were produced by Dick Clark.   Dick Clark was the king of adolescent TV at the time, with a monopoly on Saturday mornings.   He had MY number, that’s for sure.  But I guess my “number” was pretty common.  And get this kiddies!  NO video recorders in MY day!  So if I missed a show, it was gone for-ev-ar!

Mark and I share the same birthday.  The one time I saw them in concert in Portland, Oregon it was “our” birthday and I slipped the usher a note to Mark to let him know someone out there was celebrating with him.  I think I was turning 13.  He probably still has it in his collection of stuff fan girls sent him over the years and cherishes it even today.   Or maybe its still crumpled up in an usher’s coat pocket hanging in the back of the music hall collecting dust.

Recently in a serious bout of boredom after reading one of those “where are they now” articles, I did a Google search on Mark.  Lucky me!  He just recently got his own web site!  AND he’s on both Twitter and Facebook.  Well, there you go!  I am ALSO on Facebook and Twitter.  Coincidence?  Karma?  Fate?

Mark isn’t one of those celebs who just has a fan club on Facebook.  No.  He interacts personally with his friends.  Posts pictures of his vacations even.  Of course he screens his friends, so I told him why I should be allowed into his inner circle.  I gave him “our” history and threw in the TV show reference to prove I was a loyal and legitimate fan, worthy of his Facebook friendship.

I cannot imagine what my response would have been if I had had Facebook at age 13 and I got an email saying “You and Mark Lindsay are now friends.”  As it is, he and I are now both over age 50, and it was still way cool to get that message.   Better late than never, as they say.  A little less thrilling when you know that you are one of 1,856 other “friends.”  But, still.  Its something.

It used to be that famous people did not associate with the lowly “public.”  They were above us, and they only associated with other similarly famous people.  But now, with the so-called Social Media at our calloused fingertips, the ability to connect with someone famous is only a tweet away.  

I’m not sure this is good.  I mean, where’s the romance?  The intrigue?   I look back fondly on those wonderful and terrible angst-filled teenage-girl nights spent starring at Mark’s and Davey’s and Paul’s faces as the moonlight shone through my window!  “Take me away Mark!” “Take me away to Malibu and give me a life of sunshine and romping on the beach and traveling the world!”

Mark was beyond my reach but not beyond my dreams!   He was perfect!  I could tell from just watching him on TV but I also knew this because Access Hollywood hadn’t been invented yet. 

But now, sheesh, can’t you just let a girl dream?  Do we HAVE to know our idols have drug habits and secretly like to wear women’s clothes and cheated on their wives and sometimes make out with prostitutes in the backs of cars in dark alleys?  How can we idolize them if we know they have faults just like the rest of us schmucks? 

I suppose there is something positive in knowing so much about famous people’s lives.  As a parent, I can now point to a celebrity and say to my kids  “let that be a lesson to you – Paul McCartney smoked pot all his adult life and just look where THAT got him!”  Oh- right. Paul is still rich and famous and sings great and has only been divorced once.    “Don’t be like that Robert Downey Jr. who couldn’t shake his cocaine habit and went on to be  — Iron Man.”  Dang.  Another success from ruins story.   

America likes nothing better than a great comeback story.  So now we have Michael Jackson’s come-back rehearsal tapes being turned into a movie.    I am confident he was hoping to perform live and in person but he is presently deceased and unavailable for comment.  The cautionary tale there is not so much vice but victimization of a sensitive and talented child who decided to become Peter Pan instead of grow up and become one of the adults who made his early childhood a living hell. 

As for my teen idols, one of which is NOT Michael Jackson, they’re on the road with the Teen Idol Tour!  Mark, Mickey Dolenz (The Monkees) and Peter Noone (Herman’s Hermits) on stage so the baby boomers can return to adolescence for a couple of hours and ask themselves the question “How did we all get this old?” 

For the record, I have no evidence – nor  have I sought any –  that Mark Lindsay is anything but a decent and upright guy with no skeletons in his closet, even if the closet did at one time include a feathered hat and tights.

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